KIPS BAY, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City has a pandemic response lab that is filled with more than 100 researchers, analysts and technologists.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had to see the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week operation for himself.
"This is a home-grown solution," de Blasio said. "I want to be clear. It didn't exist. It was put together to address the coronavirus here in NYC by New Yorkers."
The staffers and machinery can analyze 20,000 coronavirus tests per day.
What's even more impressive is the turn-around time, producing test results in less than 12 hours. That kind of speed is absolutely necessary as many public school students return to classrooms beginning on Monday -- regular coronavirus testing will be their new reality.
"We have the capacity to not just do weekly testing in the schools, but also not take away from the important critical testing we have to do in the community," Director of Mayor's Office of Operations Jeff Thamkittikasem said.
De Blasio said schools wouldn't be able to reopen without the facility.
"The pandemic response lab gives us a guarantee that tens of thousands of tests can be done and processed every day," he said.
The recent surge of coronavirus cases throughout the five boroughs means the demands on the lab will only grow, and the lab is ready to increase capacity to 30,000 tests per day.
And a month from now, 100,000 tests per day -- all at a cost that makes economic sense for the city.
"We are paying $28 per test for tests that are processed in this lab," said James Patchett, of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. "Compare that to what most national labs charge, which is about $100 a test."
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